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My first job on the graduate scheme at Nestle was as Assistant Brand Manager of Sun Pat Peanut Butter. I can remember being gutted, as back then, the only thing that mattered was if you got a placement on a brand that had a budget for TV advertising or not. And Peanut Butter did not.
Back then, it was what I call a “back of cupboard” product, bought at the time by – I think – 60% of British households, but rarely used by most of them.
In the end it was a really great foundation for the rest of my career as I got exposure to both the Brand and Private Label P&L really early on, and as such, needed to understand the processes and costs that went into making peanut butter, as well as all the levers that drove in-store sales..but it certainly wasn’t what was termed “sexy”.
Since then, the nut butter category has changed utterly, and our guest today has been singlehandedly responsable for much of that change.
Pippa Murray founded Pip & Nut in 2015, out of a passion for running and a love of nut-butters, but not finding exactly what she wanted on the market.
The range is now sold in more than 5000 stores and is the fastest growing nut butter in the UK. Last year, the company was named Fasttrack 100s “one to watch” and The Evening Standard has named Pippa as one of London’s most influential people!
Here’s our interview from the end of December, where we discuss BCorp certification, innovation as a growth-driver and managing people when you’ve never done it before.
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[00:23] – Introducing, Pippa Murray, who founded Pip & Nut when she wasn’t able to find what she wanted on the market, almost single-handedly transforming the nut butter category in the UK market.
[02:03] – What is Pip & Nut: what does it look like, where might we find it and how did Pippa come to launch the brand?
[04:03] – Innovation has played a key role in driving Pip & Nut. What did Pippa feel was missing on the shelves in the nut category in the UK? She talks about reinvigorating the category and introducing new things.
[05:23] – All the Pip & Nut products are natural without added palm oil. What does the range look like and how is it different from products that are already out there?
[06:17] – Another thing Pip & Nut has done really well is innovation around different formats, such as the on the go squeeze packs and kilo tubs.
[08:15] – Small businesses are necessary for categories in terms of driving growth because they are able to come up with products that are consumed by a small number of people at the beginning, therefore small volumes mean that they don’t need huge capex spend. This ability to innovate, along with differentiation, drives growth for retail buyers.
[09:43] – Innovation is really key. How do they do innovation at Pip & Nut? Pippa talks about the learning curve, lessons taken from failed products and how the new nut butter cups came to be.
[13:51] – Where and how are the newly launched nut butter cups sold?
[14:45] – One of the key elements that make an insurgent brand more successful in driving growth than big food brands seems to be the desire to do the right thing coming from a real place of authenticity. Pippa explains why Pip & Nut decided to become certified as a B Corp and what this means exactly.
[16:46] – What does balancing profit with purpose mean day-to-day for Pip & Nut? Pippa talks about making strong ethical choices and balancing profit with doing good.
[19:41] – Pippa was a complete novice when it comes to food and drink and has also never managed a team of people before. She talks about the learning curve that was required, understanding her leadership style and the management component of the business.
[23:51] – What’s it like nowadays being a female founder in the food industry? Pippa found that once you are able to prove yourselves it becomes easier to hold your own in the room.
[26:31] – Advice for people who hadn’t worked in the food industry before and are reluctant with their idea due to a lack of experience. Can the lack of experience of the food industry even be an asset?
[30:02] – How many people are in the Pip & Nut team now? Pippa talks about the importance of having people who are cleverer than you in the room!
[31:45] – What is the big plan for Pip & Nut over the next five years?